Saturday, November 27, 2010

THWG Thought of the Day: 11/27

Men, Georgie's a fine football team, a very fine football team. Georgie's bigger and faster than we are. Probably a little tougher, too.

That's okay, because we're smarter than they are.

Now, let me tell you what's going to happen. That Georgie team's going to come running out of the tunnel screaming and foaming at the mouth and smashing one another upside the head just to get warmed up.

We won't do any of that. While they waste their energy, we'll conserve ours. I've told you that they're bigger, faster, and tougher than you. That's true. But we do have that one big advantage.

We ... are ... smarter.

Think about what I teach you. Play field position. Play great defense. Make no mistakes on offense. Be great in the kicking game. Do that and we'll keep it close.

As the game goes on, they'll start to get tired because they wasted so much energy in the beginning. Because we're smart, we'll have plenty of energy left, and at some point in the fourth quarter they'll make a mistake.

When they do make that mistake, we'll get the football. And when that happens, I'll think of something and we'll win!
Coach Bobby Dodd, as told by Bill Curry

Friday, November 26, 2010

This Weekend in College Football: Week 13

Well, it's the last full-fledged column of the year. Are you ready?

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

  • Michigan @ Ohio State (ABC): And the Big Ten's biggest rivalry is renewed once again, this year a week later, however. Nonetheless, Ohio State should maintain the recent tradition of beating Michigan.
  • Boston College @ Syracuse (ESPN): Boston College has put together a nice little run for themselves over the last month of the season, whereas the 'Cuse is scuffling a bit at the end. I think this'll continue and that BC should win.
  • Michigan State @ Pennsylvania State (ESPN2): Well, I think JoePa should retire, but then again, who's going to tell him that he should? Yeah, that's what I thought. Meanwhile, Sparty's looked awfully shaky over the last month or so, but how can you pick against them? Well, I can't anyway.
  • South Florida @ Miami (ESPNU): It's a quarterback controversy in Coral Gables! Either way, Miami should win.
  • Tulane @ Marshall (CBSCS): If you like watching 4-7 teams play each other, well have I got the matchup for you! Anyway, Marshall's defense is something I would generously call "suspect" so I'll take Tulane here.
  • Indiana @ Purdue (BTN): It's the battle for the Old Oaken Bucket! While Purdue has been "scrappy" and "competitive" despite a boatload of injuries this season, Indiana has just been awful in conference play (two wins versus none, respectively). I'll take the Boilermakers.
  • Kentucky @ Tennessee (SEC): Well, both these teams are sort of crawling toward the finish. Tennessee needs a win to get bowl eligible. I don't think they'll get it.
  • Virginia @ Virginia Tech (ACC): Well, it's UVA and VPI again. I was going to ask aloud how this game ended up on Raycom but then I realied I don't really care about it either. VPI has won every contest since 2003 and that shouldn't change here.
12:30: Kansas vs. Missouri (@Kansas City, MO; FSN): Speaking of playing out the string, Mizzou should take care of Kansas in this neutral-site rivalry.

  • Louisiana State @ Arkansas (@Little Rock, AR; CBS): It's the War Memorial Stadium special of the year for Arkansas, which certainly would make this an attractive upset pick. I can't really pull the trigger on that though.
  • Northwestern @ Wisconsin (ABC/ESPN): Well, the ride that was this year for Northwestern came to a screeching halt last week at Wrigley with that somewhat inexplicable loss to Illinois. Wisconsin should seal up a Rose Bowl bid here.
  • Florida @ Florida State (ABC/ESPN): This is tough. I've been pessimistic on FSU for a few weeks now and am actually picking Florida to win in my bowl predictions, so I'll still with that. I think it will be close though.
  • North Carolina State @ Maryland (ESPN2): If NC State wins, they wrap up the ACC Atlantic and will appear in next week's (almost sold out!) ACC Championship Game. Otherwise, FSU will get in. I think NCSU should be able to take care of UMD and get into the title game, though.
  • North Carolina @ Duke (ESPNU): Not quite as exciting as the basketball version, that's for sure. UNC should win easily.
  • Iowa @ Minnesota (BTN): Speaking of winning easily, Iowa.
4:00: Texas Christian @ New Mexico (Versus): TCU should wrap up a perfect season here. Will it be enough to get an invite to a BCS bowl? We'll see.

  • South Carolina @ Clemson (ESPN2): Our second SEC-ACC matchup of the day, the Gamecocks travel to their upstate counterparts, and should come away with the win as long as they're not getting to eager to face Auburn next week.
  • Mississippi State @ Mississippi (ESPNU): Egg Bowl! For the first time in awhile, Mississippi State is the obvious favorite here, as Ole Miss has simply had a trainwreck that not even the Right Reverend Houston Nutt can fix.
7:30: Oregon State @ Stanford (Versus): What in the hell happened to the Beavers? They've lost to UCLA and both Washington teams but somehow beat Arizona and USC. At 5-5 and Stanford and Oregon remaining on the schedule, this is one of the big reasons why the Pac-10 won't have more than 4 teams go bowling.

7:45: Georgia Tech @ Georgia (ESPN): To Hell with Georgia.

  • Notre Dame @ Southern California (ABC): Well, Notre Dame has woken up the echoes the past couple of weeks but I still like USC here.
  • Oklahoma @ Oklahoma State (ABC): It's Bedlam! I used to have a soft spot for this game, but it's sort of gotten away from the Cowboys, who haven't won since 2002 and have gotten blown out in the last two contests. Nonetheless, I still like them here to clinch the Big 12 South and face Nebraska next week.

Bowl Predictions 2010: Week 6

It's that time once again. Or, by most measures, it's about time it's that time once again. Anyway, the predictions are here. Let's get started.
  • First, since I waited so long to do this, my prediction that Texas would lose to TAMU has come to pass, meaning that they will not be in a bowl game for the first time since 1997. Which got me to thinking: I've been doing this thing since 1999, so what teams have been in every edition of the predictions? Well, the list isn't very long: Florida State, Florida, Virginia Tech, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Boston College, and Oklahoma.
  • The BCS is a mess right now. For starters, I think I'm the only person on the Internet who thinks Auburn is going to win, so I have them in the title game. I also still have Boise and TCU in, though I think Boise will pass TCU. I have a pretty good idea what the Rose and Sugar will do (take their obligatory non-AQ hit and take a Big Ten team, respectively) but after that I'm not sure. The Orange, however, surely doesn't cherish either of it's options: take a faraway at-large like TCU or Stanford, or take whichever 4-loss team emerges from the Big East. I think they'll bite the bullet and take Pitt (or UConn, or WVU, or whoever it is) leaving the final potential PR nightmare to the Fiesta. I almost think they have to take TCU at this point. But since I seem to differ from everyone else on the Internet on this I could be wrong.
  • At this point in the year, there's enough solid rumors that I stop guessing as much and try to find as much information for each bowl as I can. This harder than it may seem, because for at least half the bowls no one really cares. (Search for "New Orleans Bowl" in Google news and see what you get. Not much.) Generally, team beat writers and hometown papers for the bowls are the best sources, as they generally talk to bowl commissioners and have at least an idea of what their bowl prospects are. This enabled me to make at least once correction this week, as I moved Alabama from the Cotton to the Capital One Bowl, which triggered a huge shift in the way I was allocating the SEC bids.
  • There's some potential shenanigans with the Liberty Bowl, but for now I'm going with C-USA vs. SEC. I favor the Liberty over the Compass for now since the Liberty has a higher payout.
  • No idea where Notre Dame is going to end up. If they upset USC then they could steal a spot from the Big East and into the Champs Sports Bowl, but otherwise they'll probably be the most attractive prize among the 6-6 at-larges. We'll know more Sunday.
  • The only teams that have been invited so far are marked with double asterisks, and they are Navy, Hawaii, and Army.
  • For Georgia Tech, everything hinges on beating UGA. If we (somehow) win, then I could see us in the Music City Bowl, and I've even heard the words "Champs Sports" being tossed around though I really doubt they will take us above Miami or NC State. (Especially Miami if they get Notre Dame.) Lose and it's pretty bleak. The Independence is probably a best-case scenario, as the only other remaining teams at that point are likely us, Maryland, and Boston College. I would think the Military Bowl would take Maryland. I don't really know why the Independence would take BC over us, but you never know.
  • Remember how the Pac-10 only got two teams into the NCAA tournament last March (and only because Cal lost in the Pac-10 title game)? Well, they're trying that again here. Oregon, Stanford, and Arizona are locks to make bowls, but outside of that really only the winner of the Washington-California game has a chance of making it to 6 wins. USC would be in a game but they are, of course, ineligible. Which is a real bummer, as I'm all for the Pac-10's round robin conference schedule, but a few more teams would definitely be in if that 9th game were replaced by Portland State.
  • There's probably just enough action next weekend to hold off the vast majority of invites because of conference title games and the uncertainty of who will get into the BCS. So this will one come down to the wire, to say the least.
Enjoy rivalry weekend, folks!

THWG Thought of the Day: 11/26

Like Wake Forest or Maryland or somebody...

If viewing this on Facebook, click "view original post below" to see the video.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

This Week in College Football: Week 13

Lots of football this week, especially with a jam packed Black Friday slate. So why get up before dawn to sit in the cold only to discover that you weren't one of the first three people in line for that 55" TV? Your existing 42" one is probably good enough to watch the following games anyway.

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

7:00: Temple @ Miami (ESPN): Okay, this game already kicked off, so I'm a bit late to the party here. So I won't predict anything.

8:00: Texas Agricultural and Mechanical @ Texas (ESPN): What a terrible year for Texas, eh? They join the miser zone for two other BCS teams last year (Florida and Georgia Tech) whose 2010 seasons are not quite living up to the hype. With that said, I don't think they really stand a chance again TAMU.

  • Louisville @ Rutgers (ESPN2): Who wants to win the Big East? Okay, it probably won't be one of these two teams, but you never know. Especially about the Big East. I think Rutgers can win this one.
  • Ohio @ Kent State (ESPNU): Ohio should wrap up the MAC East in this early Friday MACtion.
12:00: West Virginia @ Pittsburgh (ABC): It's the Backyard Brawl, with a special helping of "Who Wants to Win the Big East?" Pitt is in pretty good shape, but if they lose, then Connecticut controls their own destiny in the Big east. Yup. That said, Pitt should win, for whatever that means in the context of the Big East.

2:00: Southern Methodist @ East Carolina (CBSCS): SMU clinches a C-USA West title here with a win, a win that would also help Southern Miss in the East. ECU just got torched by a very moribund Rice squad as they posses one of the worst defenses in the country, so I actually like SMU here.

2:30: Auburn @ Alabama (CBS): Well, here it is. Alabama is a slight favorite right now, and as I've discovered now that I'm starting to check the news for the bowl projections, that a lot of people think Auburn will lose. Okay, yeah, this is not a lights out Auburn defense. But this isn't last year's Alabama defense either. They got passed all over by Arkansas, and then they lost to South Carolina and LSU. While I generally don't adhere to the transitive property when it comes to college football, I can't help but note that Auburn has beaten both of those teams, and, in fact, has no losses. (I think it is fair, though, to point out this is only Auburn's fourth home game all year.) That said, I will take Auburn straight up. Well, unless something happens between now and Friday re: Cam Newton, which I doubt.

  • Colorado @ Nebraska (ABC): Yeah, cool, Colorado won last weekend against K-State and Nebraska probably got jobbed in College Station. Huskers should still win this one and wrap up the Big 12 North.
  • California-Los Angeles @ Arizona State (FSN): Since I haven't posted this week's bowl predictions this week, did you know that the Pac-10 could only have four bowl eligible teams. Which sucks that's considered "a thing" because I favor a round-robin conference schedule. ASU is already ineligible because with two DI-AA teams and six losses they can't qualify. UCLA can if they run the table starting here, but I don't think they will.
6:30: Southern Mississippi @ Tulsa (CBSCS): That said, USM's remote C-USA East hopes lie on an extremely unlikely UCF loss to Memphis. That said, USM played well last weekend despite everything, and I think that trend continues.

7:00: Arizona @ Oregon (ESPN): While Cal defended Oregon about as well as you can, they've had a week to think about it. While Arizona is a good team, the Ducks should take care of business back home in Eugene.

10:15: Boise State @ Nevada (ESPN): I will like this game a whole bunch if Nevada can figure out a way to not get blown out. While Nevada is solid, I'm not sure how they can defend Boise. The best case scenario for Nevada is to hope the game turns into something a track meet, but Boise has crushed all their other WAC opposition, and I don't think that there's anything about Nevada's defense that won't prevent that happening to them.

Monday, November 22, 2010

THWG Thought of the Day: 11/22

Once again, it's To Hell With Georgia week here.

However, there's not a lot to talk about this year. With an opening line of somewhere around two touchdowns, Tech is currently not a favorite, to say the least.

However, none of that changes the real mechanics of Clean, Old Fashioned Hate. Oh, sure, your state rivalry may have more history. Or your state rivalry may currently be for higher stakes other than bowl eligiblity. None of that changes anything, though.

I will rest today and probably tomorrow, but the usual content should be up by the middle of the week.

And once again, To Hell with Georgia!

Friday, November 19, 2010

This Weekend in College Football: Week 12

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.


  • Wisconsin @ Michigan (ESPN): It’s been a comfortable couple of weeks for the Wolverines, with their overtime “thriller” against Illinois and a victory over Purdue getting them back to the 7-win mark, and perhaps a reason to look forward to next year. (It’s winter in the midwest, they need all the reasons they can get when the sky is gray everyday for the next 5 months, don’tcha know?) At any rate, that should all come crashing down against Wisconsin. While I doubt they’ll score 83 again, it will probably be a moral victory for the beleaguered Michigan defense if they hold them under, say, 50.
  • Pittsburgh @ South Florida (ESPN2): Who’ll win the Big East? Who knows. I tried flipping a coin to pick this one but I lost control of it and now I can’t find it. I’m pretty sure that says something about the Big East. Anyway, I predicted Pitt to prevail in my bowl predictions, so I guess I’ll go with them here.
  • Oklahoma State @ Kansas (FSN): Kansas: still bad! Cowboys roll.
  • Virginia @ Boston College (ESPNU): Boston College still isn’t scoring any points, but hey they’ve one 3 in a row and they actually play defense. I’ll take them here.
  • Purdue @ Michigan State (BTN): Purdue may be one of the most battered teams in the country. Sparty rolls.
  • Troy @ South Carolina (SEC): I guess it’s popular in the SEC to either take this week off or effectively take this week off. While I think Troy can still recover in the Sun Belt, they don’t really stand a chance here.
  • North Carolina State @ North Carolina (ACC): I like this matchup a lot, actually. That said, I also still like the Wolfpack a lot here as well.

1:30: Duke @ Georgia Tech ( What is there to say at this point? We’re 5-5 and we’re still making the same mistakes that at the beginning of the year caused us to lose to Kansas, and we’re out our starting QB. I think Tevin Washington actually performed well last weekend, but the continuing lapses on defense and lack of execution on offense are extremely worrying at this point in the season.


  • Mississippi @ Louisiana State (CBS): Well, since LSU is involved, it’s tough to tell how this one is going to go. Sure, Ole Miss just got blown out by the (2nd) worst team from the other side of the SEC, but this one could go down to the wire. Or LSU wins comfortably. Either way, The Hat should prevail in the fashion that he chooses.
  • Ohio State @ Iowa (ABC): As Doc Saturday put it, last weekend was Northwestern’s “annual upset over Iowa” that I keep forgetting about. That pretty much removes Iowa from the Rose Bowl race but doesn’t really make the Big Ten any less confusing. Provided Ohio State wins here, and I think they will, they will end up in the BCS, but it’s just a question of whether it’ll be Pasadena or New Orleans.
  • Virginia Tech @ Miami (ESPN): This is your ACC Coastal division, right here. Honestly, I don’t think it matters who starts at QB for Miami at this point, but I think the VPI defense is still quality enough to control them. With this year’s edition of Tyrod Taylor, the Hokies should also still be able to generate enough offense to outpace the Miami attack, which is a pretty conventional offense with some great talent. These are the type of offenses VPI has been feasting on for years.
  • Stanford @ California (FSN): It’s The Big Game, folks. Does Cal stand a chance? While this is a huge rivalry, I think Cal spent their bullets against Oregon last weekend. Also, that Andrew Luck kid is pretty good at this quarterback thing. While I think Stanford will win, this is very reminiscent of last year’s Big Game that the Cardinal were also heavily favored to win but ended up losing. So, hey, ya never know.
  • Illinois vs. Northwestern (@Chicago, IL; ESPNU): Ponder this: Northwestern is a small, private school that is typically not really good at football. Illinois is the big, huge state school that should be great at football. Now, then, you’re probably aware of this, as I was, but I still just looked it up and I am shocked that Northwestern is 6-1 against Illinois since 2003. If Illinois isn’t careful, the Wildcats will pass them soon, as the all time series is a pretty close 52-46-5 in favor of Illinois. And I think that trend will continue this year. Not because Northwestern is great or anything, but I mean seriously, Illinois just lost to Minnesota. Minnesota! In addition watching Ron Zook lose, this game also provides the novelty of football in a baseball stadium. The baseball stadium thing being the novel part, not the Ron Zook losing part. [Ed: We’ve learned at the last minute that both teams will work towards one end zone on offense. This is like when we were kids, except that presumably there are also no gardens or trees in the field of play.]
  • Arkansas State @ Navy (CBSCS): Navy.


  • Army vs. Notre Dame (@New York, NY; NBC): So Notre Dame just demolished Utah, getting out of their funk for now. While I don’t think they’ll quite do the same damage here, they should still win pretty comfortably.
  • Arkansas @ Mississippi State (ESPN): Arkansas might be putting together the quietest 2-loss season in SEC history. While Miss State is pretty decent this year, it’s hard not to like Arkansas this point, provided they don’t overlook the Bulldogs.
  • Missouri @ Iowa State (FSN): Iowa State is gunning for their first consecutive bowl streak since 2004 and 2005. They’ll get close, but just not close enough. Mizzou keeps their slim Big 12 North hopes alive.
  • Connecticut @ Syracuse (ESPNU): Who wants to win the Big East? These two teams certainly still can, but technically anyone still can, so that’s not really saying much. I flipped a coin, and this time I didn’t lose it. It came up UConn.


  • Southern California @ Oregon State (ABC): That win over Cal looks really confusing now doesn’t it? (Not to mention that 2 point victory over Arizona.) In the last 4 games, the Beavers have lost to Washington, UCLA, and Wazzou, three of the worst teams in the conference. I think USC will continue the trend, though they’re actually good so who knows?
  • Nebraska @ Texas Agricultural and Mechanical (ABC): I didn’t realize until just now that TAMU is ranked. Huh. That said, while TAMU prevailed over then #8 Oklahoma two weeks ago I don’t think they’ll have the same luck against current #8 Nebraska. This is definitely the game of the evening, though, so give it a look if you can.
  • Florida State @ Maryland (ABC): Well, it’s been fun Maryland, but I’ll be really surprised if you can beat Florida State this weekend. Still, a pretty surprising year for the Terps.
  • Oklahoma @ Baylor (ESPN2): The ride was fun for Baylor as well, but then they ran into Oklahoma State and TAMU and, well, it hasn’t been pretty. This will probably continue against the Sooners.
  • Houston @ Southern Mississippi (CBSCS): Considering all that happened in Hattiesburg last weekend after USM’s upset over UCF, I will be both surprised and delighted if Southern Miss can beat the Cougars here.

I’m flying back to the eye of the crazy storm (i.e., Alabama) on Sunday, so bowl predictions maybe late. Of course, since I just uploaded them today during a normal week, I guess that won’t really be all that different.

Bowl Predictions 2010: Week 5

It’s week 5, do you know where your bowl predictions are?

  • In the BCS, I don’t think anyone’s going to catch Auburn or Oregon unless something happens in regards to Cam Newton. The Cal game was likely an aberration for the Ducks, and they should be able to get back on track.
  • But what happens if either loses? That’s very interesting, to say the least. It looks very likely now Boise will catch and pass TCU, so I have put Boise in the Rose. But remember, only one of these teams is guaranteed a BCS berth. I don’t think the BCS would want to face the backlash of excluding TCU if they go undefeated. Also, I don’t know what options looks all that more appealing than TCU to the Orange or Fiesta bowls. Basically, the last two BCS slots (presumably the Sugar will take whichever team loses the Big Ten’s Rose Bowl tiebreaker, right now I have this as a 1-loss Ohio State) will be down to Pittsburgh (or whoever wins the Big East), TCU, a 2-loss Nebraska (or whoever the loser of the Big 12 title game is), and a 1-loss Stanford. The Orange may just fall on the sword and take Pitt or whoever that’s going to be, leaving the Fiesta with a Big 12 team that just lost its title game, a Stanford fan base that isn’t known for its size or willingness to travel, or an undefeated TCU.
  • I’ve been projecting 3-4 extra teams the past weeks, which bodes well for the possible doomsday scenarios. However, with attendance down all over college football this year I think some of these bowls are going to lose a ton of money this year, which may allow us to get back to a reasonable number. May.
  • Let me rant about the Big East again. It’s mid-November, and most teams haven’t played more than 4 conference games. This makes it such a pain to predict, especially when you have the only obvious frontrunner go and lose to UConn. That said, Notre Dame being relatively dreadful this year will at least let them send a team to the Champs Sports Bowl. Probably.
  • Army clinched their berth in the Armed Forces Bowl last weekend. They will likely not play a Mountain West team there, but they could (I should probably check the payouts on that). For now I’ve slotted SMU there, since it’s being played at their home stadium.
  • For my fellow Georgia Tech fans, it’s not looking good. Basically, here’s how I view it: beat Duke and UGA and we could get up to the Music City. Go 1-1 and probably end up in Shreveport, with an outside shot of ending up in San Francisco, though as bad as GT’s travel reputation is at least we’re south of the Ohio River, unlike Boston College.
  • The Alamo Bowl paid up the big bucks to take the slot formerly occupied by the Holiday Bowl, and boy, if they get the Stanford-Nebraska matchup I’m predicting there could be some fireworks in that game.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

This Week in College Football: Week 12

For the last month of the season, in addition to the usual weekly column we’ll also examine the Tuesday through Friday action as well.

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.


8:00: Ohio @ Temple (ESPN2): There’s a 3-way tie for the MAC East right now, so once again your Tuesday MACtion has championship implications. Ohio has already beaten the other team in the tie (Miami) so a win here would be huge for them with only beatable Kent State to go. Meanwhile, a Temple win here and a Miami win against Akron on Wednesday sets up a season ending showdown a week from Friday. As for this game? Honestly, I like the Owls here. They’ve just been dominant against almost all of their MAC foes and it’s at home.


6:00: Miami @ Akron (ESPNU): As I said above, Miami is the other team in the tie. Akron… is not. Akron is probably the worst team in major college football this season due to be 0-10 on the year. I think the predicted winner here is obvious.

8:00: Bowling Green @ Toledo (ESPN2): Going with the decent team (Toledo) over the 2-8 team (Bowling Green).


7:30: Georgia State @ Alabama (ESPNU): Ordinarily, I don’t list DI-AA vs. DI-A competition on here. This game won’t be any less lopsided than the ones I usually list. In fact, it will probably be even more lopsided because it’s first-year Georgia State going into Tuscaloosa. (It may still be less painful for former Alabama (and Georgia Tech) coach Bill Curry than the time an Alabama fan threw a brick threw his window.) At any rate, this is the conclusion of ESPN’s documentary of Georgia State football, a series I’ve been fascinated with as it talks about the trials and travails of a team that’s just getting its feet. But unlike a lot of other teams of this sort, at least they’re staying within their means and not trying to jump into I-A in two years. So watch the beginning out of respect, and then look away out of respect, because no one likes rubberneckers.

8:00: California-Los Angeles @ Washington (ESPN): Yeah… they schedule these Thursday night games at the beginning of the year. Sometimes they’re right about which ones will be good. Sometimes, they’re, um, not and you end up with two Pac-10 teams with losing records. U-Dub just finished the murder’s row portion of their schedule (Arizona, Stanford, Oregon) and now settles back into games they have a chance to win, needing to win their next two over UCLA and Cal to go into the Apple Cup with a shot at a bowl. All that said, I think UCLA will win.

10:00: Air Force @ Nevada-Las Vegas (CBSCS): No one in the Mountain West that isn’t TCU, Utah, BYU, SDSU, or Air Force has more than 3 wins. I’ll take Air Force here.


9:30: Fresno State @ Boise State (ESPN2): This Fresno team is pretty okay. But I’ve seen nothing this year (including watching Fresno last week against Nevada) that thinks they’ll get anything other than blown out by Boise. I was going to write that it’ll be an upset if Fresno covers but I just looked up the line and it’s Boise by 30.5. Okay, so they might actually cover, but that’s the sort of respect Boise is getting from Vegas, at least.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

This Weekend in College Football: Week 11

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.


  • Mississippi @ Tennessee (CBS): It’s a battle for SEC East vs. West supremacy! Well, supremacy for the worst team in the conference, at least. These two teams are a combined 1-9 in SEC play. The winner has a decidedly better shot at getting to a bowl, as Tennessee needs to win out to make it to 6-6, and it’s only worth mentioning that because the other two opponents are Kentucky and Vanderbilt. Ole Miss has a harder road and would have to upset LSU or Miss State. Anyway, I’ll take Tennessee here, for no apparent reason. I mean, you would at least think that if CBS was going to use one of their finite numbers of double headers they’d at least pick two teams with winning records, like, say, Alabama-Miss State or South Carolina-Florida.
  • Iowa @ Northwestern (ESPN): It would sure be easier to figure out who’s going to win the Big Ten if Iowa would just drop a game or two. Probably won’t happen here though.
  • Indiana @ Wisconsin (ESPN2): Indiana is 4-0 in OOC play and oh-fer in Big Ten play. I suspect this trend will continue. (Wow, what a dreadful set of noon games so far. And frankly it’s not getting much better.)
  • South Florida @ Louisville (ESPNU): Who wants to win the Big East? I mean, seriously. No one has stepped up so far. Both these teams are 2-2 in conference and are certainly as likely as anyone else to win the damn thing at this point. I like USF better overall, and plus they play Pitt next week, so hey, it could happen.
  • Southern Mississippi @ Central Florida (CBSCS): UCF has simply been the class of Conference USA this year. 5-0 in conference play and 7-2 overall (featuring close losses to NCSU and Kansas State), UCF has shown an ability to take care of business against the dregs of the conference and outpace the other good teams. Overtime loss to UAB notwithstanding, USM is one of C-USA’s better teams but it would be difficult to pick against UCF at this point.
  • Michigan @ Purdue (BTN): Michigan has gotten bowl eligible after last week’s triple overtime thriller, which is good because both of the last two games they could win without it really being termed a “massive upset” were not slam dunks. That scenario is here again this week, as the Boilermakers don’t really have an answer for the Big Ten’s other good offenses but have scored enough against bad defenses. That said, Purdue is down to, like, its sixth string QB and is looking for answers at this point to make a desperate thrust at bowl eligibility (with a game remaining against Indiana, this isn’t impossible, either). I have to go with Michigan here.
  • Vanderbilt @ Kentucky (SEC): This has been a lost season for the Commodores, which aren’t exactly used to winning football or anything but they haven’t really even being doing that “keep it close in the first half and then fade away in the second half” thing that they were known for in the past either. Wildcats should win easily.
  • Miami @ Georgia Tech (ACC): It’s the battle of the backup quarterbacks! Stephen Morris went 18/30 and threw a TD, but he still continued Jacory Harris’s legacy of interceptions by throwing two picks. Nonetheless, that TD was the game winner with 37 seconds to go, so that’s some poise as well. Tevin Washington will be the starter for GT, and after spending most of his first few drives getting used to game speed he led GT on the tying scoring drive late in the fourth quarter, and very nearly did it again at the end of regulation before throwing the game ending interception. Nonetheless, the future is now in Atlanta, and it should be fun to watch.
    On another note, Georgia Tech will be be celebrating the 20th anniversary of its national title at the game, including appearances from as many members of the team as they could find and Bobby Ross himself. I had hoped at the beginning of the year that this game would also be a wonderful chance to clinch the Coastal coming off an early November upset in Virginia (paralleling the way Tech beating then #1 Virginia in Charlottesville propelled them, ultimately, to the national title). Suffice it to say, that didn’t quite happen. Still plenty to play for, though, and hopefully we make the most of it.

12:30: Kansas State @ Missouri (FSN): So are the wheels coming off for Mizzou? Losing to Nebraska is one thing, but losing to a moribund-at-best Texas Tech team is inexplicable. So now we have a matchup of two teams that I’m not quite sure what to make of. For now, I’ll say that the wheels aren’t coming off, but they’re definitely getting kind of wobbly.

2:30: Utah @ Notre Dame (NBC): Sure, Utah got ground into a pulp at home against their conference rivals. But they’re probably still better than Notre Dame at this point/


  • Georgia @ Auburn (CBS): Okay, against this edition of UGA Auburn should win either way. I don’t really know what to make of the Cam Newton scandal at this point but in a lot of ways, I’m almost tempted to say that as long as they think they can avoid major sanctions for doing so (other than what they already would face) they should just play him and hope everything works out. You’ve already played 10 games, so there’s not really any turning back now, is there?
  • Pennsylvania State @ Ohio State (ABC/ESPN): I think the Buckeyes should roll here, honestly. With the Penn State quarterback situation far from solid, the usual Buckeye defense should be able to do its thing as long as the offense can hold up its end of the bargain, as it has in two post-Wisconsin beatdowns put on Purdue and Minnesota.
  • Texas Tech @ Oklahoma (ABC): OU just looked all out of sorts last week against Texas Tech, in what turned out to be an extremely chaotic weekend in the Big 12. Since I’m not sure what to make of this, I’ll take the easy way out and go with trends. OU hasn’t lost a home game since 2005 and has won 6 straight against TTU at home. So there you go.
  • Virginia Tech @ North Carolina (ABC/ESPN): If Butch Davis weren’t likely to get fired for the scandal, he probably deserves Coach of the Year for what he’s done with a depleted defense and a questionable offense. They pulled off an upset against former ACC frontrunner FSU last weekend, but I don’t think they’ll be able to do it again to the Hokies.
  • Syracuse @ Rutgers (ESPNU): Both these teams can still win the Big East! (Hint: that applies to any Big East team right now.) That said, despite the luster coming off the Orange’s season somewhat I still like them over Rutgers.
  • Central Michigan @ Navy (CBSCS): Central Michigan is pretty awful this year. Navy shouldn’t have many issues.

4:00: San Diego State @ Texas Christian (Versus): SDSU is 7-2 and their head coach may find himself at another job very soon due to his quick resurrection of a team that was routinely one of the worst in football. Despite that, unless TCU has gotten too fat and happy off its beatdown of Utah last week I expect a similar performance here.


  • Texas Agricultural and Mechanical @ Baylor (FSN): Screw logic and reason, I still like Baylor here.
  • Texas-El Paso @ Arkansas (ESPNU): UTEP may be one of the most maddeningly difficult teams in college football to quantify (along with Cal) but it shouldn’t be an issue here, unless the Razorbacks are caught looking forward two weeks to the LSU game.


  • South Carolina @ Florida (ESPN): Spurrier’s back, but that hasn’t really worked out well for him in any of the past few seasons. In general, the back end of the SEC schedule hasn’t been kind to the Visor since his return. The question here is, is Florida’s rejuvenated offense enough to overcome one of the best defenses in the SEC (despite the 41-20 loss last week)? That said, the main problem last week is that South Carolina came up flat and didn’t do anything on offense despite having the human personification of a freight train at running back. I don’t think they will again here, but I also think Florida will win anyway.
  • Mississippi State @ Alabama (ESPN2): This another matchup of an interesting offense against a high-flying defense. But there’s a lot less uncertainty here for me. Bama should win.

7:30: Oregon @ California (Versus): Right on schedule, it’s time for Cal to lose again. It may get ugly against the nation’s best offense, though.


  • Southern California @ Arizona (ABC): Arizona is ranked for three reasons: they only have two losses, those losses were to teams that were ranked, and they have a good win over Iowa. That’s it. Don’t get me wrong, I still think they’ll beat USC, but I won’t exactly be shocked if they lose.
  • Clemson @ Florida State (ABC): Did someone at ABC forget that there are no Bowdens in the this matchup anymore? That’s the only explanation I have for this one. FSU should win though.
  • Oklahoma State @ Texas (ABC): Okay, it doesn’t exactly look like Texas will remember “hey wait, almost everyone one our roster would start at almost every other school in the country” but hey, it could happen. But it probably won’t. What’s supposed to be appealing about any of these ABC 8:00 PM games again?
  • Tulsa @ Houston (CBSCS): Houston has coped well with the early loss of their all-everything QB. Better than I thought they would, actually. Also, I hope you like points, because this game is going to feature a lot of them. That said, I like Tulsa in the end simply because they can run and pass the football.

10:30: Nevada @ Fresno State (ESPNU): It’s the battle of “the other two respectable teams in the WAC”! Actually, this is probably worth watching, if for no other reason than because this is probably more interesting than the inevitable pummeling they’ll take when they play Boise. I concede that it is possible for Nevada to put a similar pummeling on Fresno, though. That said, I think this will be a close, high scoring affair, perfect for wrapping up a long day of college football. Nevada should win, though.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

This Week in College Football: Week 11

For the last month of the season, in addition to the usual weekly column we’ll also examine the Tuesday through Friday action as well.

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.


7:00: Toledo @ Northern Illinois (ESPN2): Are you ready for some MACtion? This game will determine the winner of the MAC West! If that’s not going to get you excited about MAC football then I’m not sure what will. Anyway, I like NIU here.


8:00: Miami @ Bowling Green (ESPN2): This game is not for similar stakes, unfortunately. After getting creamed in out-of-conference play, Miami (the one in Ohio) has recovered to run it up to 4-1 in the MAC, which ties them in the loss column with the other MAC East frontrunners. Bowling Green, however, is not so hot, at 2-7 on the year. I like Miami here.


7:30: Pittsburgh @ Connecticut (ESPN): Anyone have any idea of what’s going in the Big East? I sure don’t. Pitt is the only undefeated team in conference play but they’ve also only played three conference games. For the sake of my sanity, I’m taking Pitt.

8:00: East Carolina @ Alabama-Birmingham (CBSCS): Of UAB’s three wins this year, two of them have been by one point. ECU has taken care of most of their C-USA brethren by larger margins than that, but, well, they did lose 76-35 last week to Navy. (Fun fact: Navy had only 32 yards more total offense, for a total of 596 yards, but Navy finished with a +3 turnover ratio.) Nonetheless, I’ll still taking the Pirates.


6:00: Ball State @ Buffalo (ESPNU): Yes, that’s right kids, more MACtion! This time, though, the teams involved are a combined 5-14 on the year. So, um, I can’t really recommend this one. Total guess: Buffalo.

9:00: Boise State @ Idaho (ESPN2): Hey, anyone remember this whole thing from back in July? So you can bet they’ll be especially “nasty and inebriated” up in the Kibbie Dome this year. (Also known as the Cowan Spectrum if there’s a basketball court in it.) Idaho’s unique dome may be the single best reason to tune into this, other than to witness Boise’s impending demolition of them in the same manner you’re not supposed to rubberneck when driving by a car accident.

As usual, the weekend column will probably go up at some absurd hour on Saturday. Until then, enjoy the MACtion!

Bowl Predictions 2010: Week 4

As usual, the predictions are right over here. Let’s do this.

  • Oregon and Auburn control their destinies. I had multiple people ask me Saturday if TCU had any chance of passing either of them, and while TCU got close this week after shellacking Utah, the answer is “no”. TCU plays a decent San Diego State team Saturday, but after that their only remaining game is in two weeks against a New Mexico outfit that is, by virtue of a turnover fueled win over Wyoming last weekend, probably only the second worst team in the country. That will hurt their SoS a bit. Honestly, what might happen is Auburn and Oregon switch places in the polls again, but either way TCU will be on the outside looking in. Unless one of them loses. 

    It’s all part of the plan….

  • If Oregon loses, I would say it’s pretty certain TCU will get a shot. However, I agree with ESPN’s Brad Edwards that a 1-loss SEC champion Auburn team could very well vault its way back up into the top two. Auburn is currently #1 in all but 1 computer poll (and the highest and lowest polls are thrown out by the BCS), so a loss to, say, Alabama and then a title game win over Florida or South Carolina would probably get good enough to keep them at around #2 in the computers. If the humans, say, put them back up at #3, they could very well get in. At this point, I don’t think any other 1-loss teams have a shot, except for maybe LSU. (If Auburn loses Saturday to Georgia, I will go ahead and project LSU into the title game. There would be no other explanation for why Auburn would lose to UGA other than to set up LSU to win the SEC and vault its way into the BCS title game. Just no other reason.)
  • Right now, I think Wisconsin has the easiest path to the Big Ten title, so I’m projecting them into the Rose. However, Ohio State has a good shot of being rewarded with a BCS berth provided they win out. In the Big 12, I’m now projecting Oklahoma State to win the conference. Note that’s highly subject to change pretty much whenever.
  • Whither Boise State? They could very well be 12-0, no lower than #4 in the any of the polls the entire year, and be shut out of the BCS entirely. Only the top ranked non-automatic qualifying conference team is rewarded with an automatic bid to the BCS, so right now that looks like TCU. (Said team also gets a Rose Bowl bid if Oregon wins out.) Right now I think Boise is still in, but other folks doing this sort of thing have projected them out. But how bad will it look when a team they beat (Virginia Tech) is in a BCS bowl and they aren’t? Also, if I’m the Fiesta Bowl, I have to think that Boise is probably going to travel better than Stanford.
  • I actually had a glut of qualifying teams this week, as you can see by the extra MAC and C-USA teams I have sitting around at the bottom. Thanks the NCAA scrapping the “winning records must be picked first” rule, a 6-6 Iowa State will almost certainly get an at-large bid before an 8-4 Toledo team.
  • Some other notes: I could easily swap a few teams around here, like NC State and Florida State, for instance. Army, with a win over Kent State this weekend, could clink their first bowl berth since 1996. I hated to send Miami out to the Sun Bowl, but, well, someone’s got to go and I was running out of ACC teams to get picked in front of them. I still think Texas will make a bowl, just not a good one. Yes, Notre Dame’s not in. Hard to see them getting to 6-6 with games against Utah and USC left. And finally, I have no idea what the C-USA pecking order is. Those are almost guesses other than that I am desperately trying to avoid sending Southern Miss to the New Orleans Bowl yet again.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

This Weekend in College Football: Week 10

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.


  • Illinois @ Michigan (ESPN): I was all set to instinctively pick Michigan but then I remembered that Michigan just lost to a not-very-good Penn State and that Illinois is 3-2 in the Big Ten to Michigan’s 1-3. So, uh, yeah.
  • Maryland @ Miami (ESPNU): Meanwhile, yes, I know Maryland is 3-1 and 6-2 overall and that Miami is missing Jacory Harris. Nonetheless, Maryland has had trouble scoring against teams that aren’t “Morgan State” or “Wake Forset” so I still like the Canes here. I’m not terribly confident about it though.
  • Air Force @ Army (CBSCS): Army’s better this year, but Air Force remains the obvious choice. A win here clinches their first Commander-in-Chief’s trophy since 2002, which is also the last time someone other than Navy won it.
  • Wisconsin @ Purdue (BTN): Wisconsin.
  • Florida @ Vanderbilt (SEC): Florida.
  • North Carolina State @ Clemson (ACC): So after a potentially season-defining win over their biggest ACC rival (us), Clemson went out and lost to the worst offense in the conference 16-10. Screw them. I hope NCSU beats them by like 5 touchdowns. They’re also missing Andre Ellington, so they may do well to score more than 10 points, which is somehow all they scored against Boston College.

12:30: Baylor @ Oklahoma State (FSN): The winner of this game will help simplify the Big 12 South race, as each of them then end their seasons against the South’s other 1-loss team, Oklahoma. Of course, OSU is one of, if not the best, teams that Baylor has played since TCU. With the slight homefield edge, I have to give the edge to OSU.


  • Texas Christian @ Utah (CBSCS): I am listing this game first. First off, until the Iron Bowl, it is likely to be the only matchup of two top-5 teams this season. Secondly, it deserves your attention for the all reasons spelled out by someone more coherent than I am right now. If you have Time Warner, Charter, or Dish you’ll even be getting CBS College Sports for free. I know I’ll be watching. That said, I also really like TCU’s chances to prevail. They’ve faced tougher opposition than Utah, and in addition to the pummelling they hand out on offense they also play defense of a caliber Utah hasn’t seen all season.
  • Alabama @ Louisiana State (CBS): This is the game most of you will be watching. However, without the Baton Rouge night game mojo, I’m not sure Les Miles and his hat can prevail over Nick Saban and co. Bama should win.
  • Washington @ Oregon (ABC/ESPN2): The ABC and ESPN2 coverage maps are somewhat complicated this week, so I’ve linked them. At any rate, much like water on an actual duck, Oregon should roll.
  • Northwestern @ Pennsylvania State (ABC/ESPN2): Picking Penn State after they beat two of the worse outfits in the Big Ten by 10 points? Sure, why not.
  • Nebraska @ Iowa State (ABC): Nebraska, unless they manage to commit nine turnovers again. (I still can’t figure out how that happened last year.)
  • North Carolina @ Florida State (ABC): I suspect the ACC Chaos Machine will actually ensure that UNC wins this somehow, but in reality FSU should have this one. I think I said that last week, too. (Last weekend was a prime example of why every column starts with “all predictions wrong”. It’s not just a slogan, sometimes, it’s a way of life.)
  • Hawaii @ Boise State (ESPNU): Boise might only beat Hawaii by 20 instead of the customary 30 or 40. Either way, the only way they’re getting back to 3rd in the BCS is if Utah wins, and even then, maybe.


  • Arkansas @ South Carolina (ESPN): The Visor remains the last, best hope for a team with less than 3-losses to win the SEC East. I think they can manage it and face Florida next weekend for the SEC East title.
  • Oklahoma @ Texas Agricultural and Mechanical (FSN): How is TAMU 5-3 and you ask? Well, let’s review those five wins: Stephen F. Austin, Louisiana Tech, Florida International, Kansas, and Texas Tech. Assuming Texas “gets its **** mind rite”, as they might say in Coral Gables, TAMU could well finish 5-7. They’ll at least go to 5-4 here.
  • Oregon State @ California-Los Angeles (Versus): UCLA managed to lose to Arizona by a respectable one-score margin. It may be respectable, but they should probably lose to the Beavers too.
  • Louisiana-Lafayette @ Mississippi (ESPNU): Well, um, huh. This game is on TV. Well then. Ole Miss.


  • Arizona @ Stanford (ABC): Stanford is the best top-15 team you’re not hearing anything about. Then again, that’s probably because other than their single loss to Oregon, they haven’t really played anyone and their best victory to date is probably a 2-point squeaker over USC at home. Arizona meanwhile at least managed to beat Iowa though they also lost to Oregon State. Nonetheless, it’s hard not to like the numbers Stanford’s offense puts up that would look even more ridiculous if they didn’t share a conference with Oregon. I’ll take the Cardinal.
  • Missouri @ Texas Tech (ABC): Texas Tech has the ultimate 6-6 schedule. They will contribute further to that by losing to Mizzou, who made me look terrible last weekend but oh well. See my earlier disclaimer in the UNC-FSU game.
  • Texas @ Kansas State (ESPN2): By all rights, Texas should win this game. Kansas State isn’t particularly good or anything and their high flying offense lost with a relatively low-key 14 points to Oklahoma State. And hell, perhaps being in Manhattan will help with them with the Iowa State (?!) and Baylor (!!!) loses being in Austin. I don’t know anymore. I’m picking Texas out habit, shock, and disbelief, not out of logic and reason.
  • Tennessee @ Memphis (CBSCS): Tennessee helps boost Memphis’s home attendance numbers and gets a win in the process. Everybody wins! Well, except for the Memphis football team, but only in terms of literal wins and losses.

10:30: Arizona State @ Southern Cal (FSN): For those of you on the East Coast, this game may have two 1 AMs for you! For everyone else, it should be a classic high flyin’ Pac-10 late night shootout and a good way to wrap up the day. Well, unless you’re unlike me and have better things to do on Saturday nights. Either way, ASU should probably win.

Bowl Predictions 2010: Week 3

Better late than never, here’s this week’s bowl predictions. They’ve actually been up for awhile, so let’s see if I can remember what I was planning on writing.

  • Auburn and Oregon continue to control their own destiny. The only thing #1 really gets is the first dibs on uniforms, which is probably a bigger deal to Oregon than it is to Auburn. Either way, as long as neither loses, they’re in good shape.
  • Now, if they do lose, well, a lot more variables come into play. If Oregon loses, then no one really is sure what will happen. If Auburn loses, it depends on who they lose to. If they lose to Alabama the general consensus is that such a win plus the SEC title would propel a 1-loss Crimson Tide to the title game.
  • In terms of TCU/Utah and Boise, there’s actually a chance one of them could be left out even if both finish in the top 5. Only the higher ranked of the two will get the auto-bid (likely to the Rose Bowl unless Oregon loses). The other will be at the mercy of the BCS at-large process. I don’t think the BCS bowls really want to risk the outrage if, say, a #4 Boise State is left out in the cold, but it could happen. (It has before.)
  • In other news, I still have no idea who is going to win the Big 12. This week’s guess is Oklahoma over Nebraska in the Big 12 title game, allowing Mizzou to get a BCS berth. Note that this berth could also go to a Big Ten at-large, like, say, Michigan State.
  • You may be interested to know that I have Michigan and Texas playing each other in the Texas Bowl.
  • I have one extra team this week, but it’s still kind of dicey. It mostly depends on how the mid-majors shake out, and at this point in the season I still don’t really have enough data to comb through and figure out which of those teams will reach the 6-win threshold. (See, for instance, the Sun Belt, where many teams enter conference play below .500 but then gradually claw their way up to 6-6.) As the season goes on, this gets much easier though.
  • Florida and GT in the Music City Bowl? I don’t care that they lost to Mississippi State and can’t offense their way out of a paper bag, I’d still say we’re like a three touchdown underdog.
  • Also, Hawaii is indeed the first confirmed team in a bowl game.